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People Watching in Paris

So much to love about Paris.  The walk able neighborhoods.  Art and culture on every corner.  Plethora of museums.  Sidewalk cafes.  Preponderance of icons.

It’s not surprising that it is the most visited city in the world.  For as Hemingway brilliantly said, “If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man, then wherever you go for the rest of your life, it stays with you, for Paris is a movable feast.”

For me, part of the visual feast that stays with me are the people. The Parisians. The Ex-Pats who have chosen to spend their days in a foreign country being “challenged” as well as delighted. Tourists from all over the world.

Whether sitting at a café or meandering the cobblestone streets, I love observing people and wondering what their stories are.

For example, these guys.  The outrageous plaid pants, spiky hair, huge backpacks and Three Dogs.  I wanted to stop them and ask, ”Where are you from and where will you stay with the three dogs?”  


Dogs aren’t a big deal here though.  They like the cafes as much as we do.

The street performers are a hoot.  This elegant couple performed at a nearly deserted part of a plaza near Les Halles,  almost as if they were there only for their own enjoyment or maybe they were too shy to be at a busy intersection.  They beamed and smiled when I threw a coin in the fiddle case and took a photo.

Place Vosges in the Marais is another spot for people watching.  Busy and active, it is less well known as a major tourist destination, although on a sunny day, the lawn is packed.  We have seen and enjoyed this opera singer on three different trips in this area. He must earn enough to make it worthwhile. His outfits are always striking.

On a recent Sunday in Paris, we were disappointed not to be able to have lunch at the elegant restaurant on the top of Institute Monde Arabe, with its drop dead view down the Seine of Notre Dame and beyond.  “It was complete,” we were told.

Instead we meandered over to Rue Mouffetard, found a perfect spot at a sidewalk café and enjoyed the show.  It was flea market day . Mouffetard is near the Sorbonne and is a very old old street.  Originally it was the road one took  to head out of town and go to Rome.

Here are a few of the folks who amused us…..the lady in the red coat with very long neck.  Another one decked out in purple shoes, animal print scarf and big red bow that screams “look at me.”


We  spotted this little pool and oversized flippers?  Jack’s question, “If this is a set, don’t you think the flippers are a little big?”

Then there was this guy, marching with a group dressed Nazi-like, through the Marais.  I was a little scared of them until this one saw me taking photos, turned and “sorta” smiled.  Maybe they were promoting a nightclub act, who knows? I was too chicken to follow.

We were staying near the Notre Dame, so every day I gawked at  the tourists on plaza in front of the marvelous cathedral.  Caught the gal in the green striped tank top, showing her true feelings about the icon.  Wonder if she’s there with her parents and they are making her visit?  Or stayed out too late the night before?







And don’t miss the “dress alike” tourists who were in the area at the same time.  Now, why would some one get decked out like that?

This lady amused me too.   Feathers attached to the glasses, dangling earrings, a mix of pink patterns and plaids.  Hmmmmm.  Interesting Choices.  And the get up on this lady on the Batobus intrigued me.  Looks like she’s wearing a lace tablecloth.  Ready for a picnic at a moments notice.

I can’t resist the guys with beards.  I think they are drawn to Paris for the artistic ambiance. I see lots of them.










And here’s someone dressed as an ice cream cone with his friends egging him on.  Must be heading to the Ile Saint Louis, the ice cream capital of Paris.  Read more about this area,  click here.

This is my favorite.  I love this little sweetie, sitting near her Mom in a booth at the busy market, gently playing with a balloon.  The purple scarf and red sweater give her Parisian dash that is what I love most about the City of Light .

If you liked the People Watching in Paris photos, please travel with me to my DesignDestinations Facebook page.  I’ll be posting more in an album there.  And I love your comments on the post.  Please share.




Post Author
Susan J. Smith
Susan's career includes writing for newspapers, lots of community work and a wonderful family life. Now she is enjoying traveling, photography and writing for DesignDestinations and Grand Rapids Magazine. She welcomes you on her journey and appreciates your comments.


  1. posted by
    Nancy Wanty
    May 24, 2011 Reply

    Susan,  loved this article, have not been to Paris but would love to go sometime!  I just read “A Paris Wife” about Hemingway’s first wife and early years living in Paris before he became famous.   You would love it!   

  2. posted by
    May 24, 2011 Reply

    Actually I read that book before I left on the trip. A mutual friend recommended it.  I thought it was fabulous.  Going to recommend it for our book club next year.   
    Thanks for the nice comment.   

  3. posted by
    May 24, 2011 Reply

    Great post, Susan, you captured the heart and soul of Paris with your photos and comments!  I’m sure you’ll be back soon!

  4. posted by
    Kate D.
    May 26, 2011 Reply

    Fun series and commentary, Susan. I will be careful how I dress!! (joke…)

  5. posted by
    Jul 4, 2011 Reply

    Paris is my dream city. There are so many lovely location in Paris for sight scene. Paris is a lively city. The people says that Paris city never sleep. 


  6. posted by
    Jul 9, 2011 Reply

    I love Paris. Paris is the king of the romance. It is a amazing city of France. There are so many nice cafe and restaurant available in Paris. 

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  7. posted by
    Aug 8, 2011 Reply

    It is a nice people watching Paris. It is a dream city for most of couples. Paris always famous for Eiffel Tower which is located in France. I like all this photographs.  

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    • posted by
      Aug 8, 2011 Reply

      Thank you for your nice comments.   

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